5% of proceeds from this book will be donated to Texas for Heroes (an organization that sponsors retreats for US veterans) and 5% to Hoa Binh Peace Village (supporting children in Vietnam affected by Agent Orange)
"Be inspired by this book to do the right thing, to be kind, and to see the beautiful soul that is inside all people. Even those we call our 'enemy'."
From the Introduction by book co-author Chris Axelrad
This is the true story of the friendship between North Vietnamese Army Squadron Leader Hung Nguyen - who was seriously wounded during an ambush by US troops in 1967 - and Samuel Axelrad, surgeon and captain of a Forward Medical Command who saved Hung's life.
Dr. Axelrad's policy was simple. ANYBODY who was brought to the medical tent was to be treated as a first class patient. No matter whether they were civilian, US soldier or - as in this case - "enemy".
"We are here as healers first." That was the motto Dr. Axelrad and his company lived by.
As a way to remember their commander's kindness in saving Hung's life, the medics gave Dr. Axelrad Hung's arm bones, which the doctor hastily stashed away in his trunk, which remained sealed until 2011, when Dr. Axelrad's grandson wanted to see what was in it.
Upon opening the trunk, Dr. Axelrad discovered the bones and realized he must go back to find his friend's family to return them. He was sure Hung, aka "Charlie", had not survived the war. There had been no contact between the two men since Dr. Axelrad left Vietnam in 1968.
After a tour of the entire country of Vietnam in 2012 with his two sons and grandson, Dr. Axelrad had a fateful meeting with a journalist, Quynh Hoa, while taking a historic tour in Hanoi. Hoa kindly offered to help Dr. Axelrad try and locate his old friend or his family by seeing if her editors would publish the story in the biggest Vietnamese newspaper.
The story was published several weeks later, and within days Hung, aka "Charlie" was located. Alive and well in the village of An Khe, where Dr. Axelrad had left him over 40 years before.
The story in this book will move you and inspire you. To this day, Dr. Axelrad feels that meeting Hung was one of the great blessings in his life. And, after reading the book, you'll see why.
Chris Axelrad, son of Captain Samuel Axelrad and book co-author writes:
"The way my father cared for Hung aka “Charlie” may seem unbelievable, but anyone who knows Sam Axelrad knows that he takes care of his patients with all his effort. And that’s the beauty of this whole story.
"As soon as Hung was brought in, they laid that stretcher out on the ground with him on it, and my dad looked at him in his broken state. Even though there are no pictures of this in the book, I can attest to the fact that Charlie was in really, really bad shape.
"In that moment he wasn’t a soldier. He wasn’t the enemy. He was a patient – a human being in need of healing.
"And heal, Charlie did. As you will read in this book, Charlie went on to assist many, many people as both a medic and as a helpful companion, during a war that was as misguided and pointless as it was brutal.
"This is an uplifting story of love, kindness and survival in very difficult times. It’s a story the world needs now more than ever. May it be a blessing to all who read it and may it inspire you and people the world over to stop seeing each other as enemies, and to realize that we are all brothers and sisters. We are all from a common source."
To see a video of the reunion, visit http://peacefulbones.com/reunion
It is truly a magical moment when these two friends who survived such a terrible conflict reunited for the first time in almost half a century.